Meanings of Dreams
Welcome to our Meanings of Dreams page. This dream story is taken from John's case files:
'Andy came to see me as a result of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; he had been in a car accident five years prior that took the life of his young son. Currently, he was having flashbacks and dreams; he thought this was the result of having just re-entered the workforce as at the time of the accident he was in a similar job. Andy was also a devout Christian.
I decided to use my meanings of dreams approach.
“What was the content of the dream you had last night, Andy?”
“I was at work. It was nothing major. But I felt I shouldn’t be there.”
“Why is that?” I asked.
“I don’t know. It just felt wrong. I could see all the people I work with and the vibe was that they had hidden agendas.”
“What do you mean by hidden agendas?”
“It’s hard to explain. I felt like they had bad motives about being there. Not a sense of evil. Just that they had the wrong motivation.”
“What was their motivation?”
“I’m not sure. It was just a sense that I should leave that job because I didn’t like the feeling.”
“Have you had other instances in life where you felt the need to escape because you didn’t like the feeling?”
Andy paused for a time. “It’s funny you ask that because I got a text message from a friend I hadn’t heard from in ages. She asked how my new job was going and I replied, ‘Not so good’. The text she sent back really surprised me. It said, ‘Don’t go doing what you always do and quit.’
“So others see this in you?”
“Yeah, it seems that way.”
“Why did her reply surprise you?”
“I don’t know. I was annoyed at first but when I stopped and thought about it she was right. I do quit when it gets tough.”
Tentatively I asked, “Did you quit when your son died?”
Andy looked saddened. “Yes, I gave up on life in a lot of ways. I quit work and it has taken me this long to get back to even thinking about employment.”
“If we get back to the dream, Andy, what do you think it is trying to say? Specifically I am talking about the hidden agendas. Do you feel like you have a hidden agenda?”
Andy did not respond for a long time. He sat silent and still and I could literally see his brain ticking over thinking about the question. Finally he spoke up, “Yeah, I do. The work is really community driven. It’s about helping others. I’m there, if I’m honest, because I want to believe I’m ready to move on. I’m not there for others. I’m there for my own healing.”
“Is that wrong?’
“Because I should be focussed on doing what’s right in the job. If I’m not doing that then I’m not doing my job properly.”
“So what you are saying is that because you feel guilty about your own agenda, you should give up?”
I went on, “Just like how you felt guilty when your son passed away? You felt the need to quit on life because you felt guilty. Like it was recompense for your son?”
“Yes. I felt I owed it to him. That it wasn’t right for me to move on. That doing so would be self-centred which is against my religious beliefs.”
“So if we consider all this in the context of your dream, what is the message, Andy?”
Andy started to cry. He sat crying for a while as I sat silent. Eventually he said, “I think it’s saying that I have deluded myself into believing that I have dealt with my son’s death.”
“How so, Andy?”
“That dream highlights that I have deep feelings of guilt sitting in me that I haven’t allowed to come out, I keep them bottled up and run from them if they surface. Like, I firstly equated those feelings with this job, so I wanted to quit. It’s not about my job. That’s just an excuse.”
“An excuse for what?”
“To run again. To go back to sitting in my little comfort zone at home and not have to face life. I don’t want to run anymore.”
I was amazed at Andy’s insight. It were as if this whole perception of himself were just resting in his subconscious waiting for the moment to offer him the information at a time when he was ready. I continued, “Andy, do you think this dream is a helpful dream?”
“Yes, but it’s a hard dream.”
“What do you mean by hard?”
“Hard to admit. Because now I’m aware I have to act. I have to do something about it. I’m vulnerable out of that comfort zone.”
“Vulnerable to what, Andy?”
“To feeling. Remaining in the heartache, the sadness, the guilt. All that negative stuff. I hate it!”
“But it’s within you regardless of the fact that you shun it consciously. And none of your running or quitting has changed that.”
“No, it hasn’t. It has actually prolonged my pain. I don’t want to run anymore, I want to face it. I know I need to...”
Andy remained in therapy for an extended time. In the end, his dream aided him to confront his fears and own his emotions. It was the catalyst required for moving beyond his grief and he openly acknowledges as much. He places such importance on the dream that he attributes it to his deceased son.'
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